Saturday, November 26, 2011
College & Pro Upsets November 26-27
TULSA OVER HOUSTON by 10
We’ve said from Week One that we felt the Cougars, with the reof Case Keenum, could run the table. Of course, most of that was due to a Charmin-soft schedule as we noted in Houston’s Team Theme from our PLAYBOOK Handicapper’s Yearbook that the Cougars would face only one FBS foe this season that ended 2010 with a winning record. Well, that foe is here now. In fact, we have Tulsa listed as one of the teams to keep an eye on in our 2011 Top 10 ATS Teams preview. And the Golden Hurricane haven’t disappointed with a 7-4 ATS log, including fi ve straight covers. Yes, the Cougars have chewed up losing teams (12-2 ATS last 14) but they have struggled mightily versus .500 or greater foes (3-11-1 ATS last 15, including 1-7 ATS when Houston is off back-to-back wins). And that’s not even the most alarming stat! As well as being an ‘As the Noose Tightens’ SMART BOX fade, and a ‘Kick in the Assets’ (Issue #10) prime play against’, the Coogs are a jaw-dropping 1-18 SU in their last 19 road games in which they allow more than 30 points. And as luck would have it (and we’re not talking Andrew) the Hurricane has scored more than 30 points in each of its last 12 home games. Now that ties in nicely! Almost as much as Tulsa’s 6-1 ATS log in LHG’s to Houston’s winless 0-7 ATS mark in LRG’s over that same span. Now we don’t want to completely dismiss a team we have built up all season long so we must point out that the Cougars do own a healthy10-2 ATS mark with conference revenge. However, this wouldn’t be 5* BEST BET if we couldn’t negate that number and we think a Golden 6-1 ATS mark as conference home favorites/home dogs of 4 or less points – along with an 11-3 ATS record versus .666 or greater league opposition – does more than enough. For the Conference USA West cheese, we’re going to smile with Tulsa as they improve to 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS lifetime in this series. And then there was ‘one’ (and possibly ‘none’ if you talk to Arkansas fans)!
It may be easier fi guring out who Kim Kardashian’s next husband will be (at least we can remove all non-athletic Jewish white guys from the equation for openers) than sorting out the Big East. No less than five teams sit atop the loop, each with two conference losses, and just a handful of games remaining. In fact, with NO teams in the BCS Top 25, it looks like the Big ‘Least’ may not get an automatic BCS berth this bowl season. With two of those ‘contenders’ squaring off in Morgantown, some questions will be answered, most importantly this week’s TRIVIA TEASER (see page 2) as Pitt HC Todd Graham is murder in today’s role. His Panthers are also a perfect 9-0 ATS as road dogs with conference revenge and 5-0 ATS with revenge off a SU dog win. And that ‘ties the knot’ to WVU’s 1-7 ATS mark as a favorite off a SU win with revenge and a 2-6 ATS log for the series favorite. Lest we forget, Pitt’s overall stats from Game Seven out are +41 net YPG whilethe Mounties are -93 net YPG over the same time span. Well, at ‘least’ this part has been solved. Grab the hook but we don’t think you’ll need it as that tempting money line is also worth a look. If you think the ‘Cats can win this one outright, just say ‘I do.’ We did.
N’WESTERN over Michigan St by 1
Are there any bullets left in Michigan State’s guns after last Saturday’s 55-point outburst? Perhaps, but since Sparty clinched a berth in the Big Ten’s inaugural title game with its 52-point walkover win at home against the barefoot Hoosiers, this sure looks like a good spot for a breather.Northwestern, however, will not be taking its foot off the gas. The hardcharging Wildcats won their 4th straight game and gained bowl eligibility last week with a win-no cover against Minnesota – so they’ll be looking to enhance their bowl standing with an upset win today. It’s no impossible dream: three weeks ago Pat Fitzgerald’s ‘Cats clawed their way to a 28-25 win over Nebraska at Lincoln as 17.5-point underdogs. The ATS archives suggest those claws may need little or no sharpening to maintain their edge. NU has covered fi ve of its last six ‘Last Home Games’ and owns a surprising 5-2 ATS series edge over Mark Dantonio’s Spartans. By comparison, Michigan State is just 2-7 ATS in its Last Road Game of the reason and has struggled following a blowc win, going 1-4 ATS off a SU victory of 40+ points. A dose of triple revenge for the home team seals the deal. And down goes Sparty!
MIDDLE TENN ST over Florida Int’l by 1
A tale of two seasons: FIU (7-4) has reeled off consecutive wins to salvage an otherwise disappointing campaign while MTSU has been lost in the wilderness since Game One (four straight losses to fall to 2-8). However, this trip to Murfreesboro marks the 5th road game in seven weeks for the Traveling Panther Show and we don’t like laying points on the road with ateam off a SU underdog win in which they were outgained – especially at a venue where they have NEVER won. Yes, the prowling cats will be looking to even the score for last season’s 1-point loss to Middle Tennessee in FIU’s fi nal home game of 2010 but with MTSU having won only once all year at Red Floyd Stadium (over lowly Memphis), you know Rick Stockstill’s boys will be hell-bent on closing out the year with a victory if front of friends and family. The Raiders may have lost the Ark but with a 3-0 SU and ATS effort of late in LHG’s, we look for them to fi nd the scepter in this home finale. Blue Man Group, outright.
INDIANOPOLIS over Carolina by 7
Like in every fairy tale we were ever told, nightmares eventually come to an end. In the Colts’ case, this season it isn’t a fabrication… it’s an improbable nightmare come true. The loss of all-world QB Peyton Manning has hit this team harder than any punch ever thrown, leaving a black eye on a once proud program. The question is will the Bye Week work wonders or is it a team beyond repair? According to our powerful database, the answer is the former as it notes that winless teams with a week of rest from Game Five out are 17-12 SU and 23-5-1 ATS since 1980, including 13-1 ATS when playing off a spread loss of 6 or more points. Yes, these ‘Ugly Pigs’ have been famous for bringing home the bacon and we’ll stand fi rst in line as we fade a struggling Carolina squad that is riding a 0-3 SU and ATS losing streak of its own.The Panthers are also riding a 0-12 SU winless streak of their own away from home. Look for a happy ending for fans in Naptown here today when Carolina falls to 1-5 SU and ATS as favorites of 3 or more points as this fable plays out just the way it was scripted.
Marc Lawrence can also be found at Playbook.com - One Click Handicapping